GA: Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy – Adoption

Statement by Police Advisor Tor Tanke Holm following the adoption of the 8th Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, 22 June 2023.

My delegation would like to thank the President of the General Assembly`s Office and the Permanent Representatives of Canada and Tunisia, as well as their respectable teams, for their tireless efforts during the months-long negotiation process of this resolution. Congratulations on the adoption of this document by consensus yet again – a feat which demonstrates the shared will of the international community to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms around the world.

The review of the Strategy provides a good opportunity to take stock of developments, achievements, and challenges facing the UN’s counter-terrorism efforts.

Norway considers the following events key developments since the last review:

  • The High-Level International Conference on Human Rights, Civil Society, and Counter-Terrorism held in Malaga, Spain in May 2022, as well as the conference’s outcome document and civil society workshop.
  • The Special Meeting of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee in Mumbai and New Delhi in October 2022, resulting in the Delhi Declaration on Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.
  • And the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2664, which Norway co-sponsored and voted for as a member of the Security Council in 2022.

Despite these important accomplishments, we have witnessed troubling emerging trends. Africa is now the continent most affected by terrorism. ISIL and Al-Qaeda affiliates have strategically exploited armed conflict, weak governance, and local grievances to radicalize and recruit.

Moreover, in some contexts, counter terrorism measures have had grave implications for human rights. Over the past two decades – in the absence of an internationally agreed definition of terrorism – some governments have deployed counter-terrorism measures which violate a broad range of rights. And sometimes, they are used to target political opposition, thereby shrinking civic space.

Some counter-terrorism measures have also had unintended negative consequences for humanitarian action, affecting vulnerable people’s access to much needed humanitarian assistance and protection. Resolution 2664 however, is an important tool to address this issue.

Mr. President,

In sum, we must acknowledge what the international community is up against: a threat it cannot define, which has no clear success criteria, and which – in some contexts – is exploited to justify repressive measures. This is counterproductive to national and international efforts to combat terrorism. It should be in all Member States’ interest to address these challenges.

Only when its implementation is balances across all four pillars can the GCTS be a good tool for Member States and the UN to counter and prevent terrorism.

In this regard, CT and PVE approaches must be holistic, and form part of a broader political strategy- One that is preventative, conflict-sensitive, gender-responsive, and regionally integrated. Addressing the root causes through the promotion of the rule of law, sustainable development, and human rights is essential.

These efforts should be rooted in a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, which marshals cross-sectoral public resources, recognizes the importance of women’s participation and leadership, and institutionalized strategic engagement with civil society in the development and implementation of counter-terrorism measures.

In this vein, I’d like to express our thanks and appreciation to the civil society organizations that have been involved in this year’s review for their important contributions. Norway also fully supports the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.